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tv   Keep the Damned Women Out  CSPAN  December 3, 2016 2:15pm-3:01pm EST

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in montgomery that there were both kinds of atticus in alabama and many variations on them. some said the atticus of "to kill a mockingbird" was fictional and he was, it was a fictional book, no such thing as a southern white man who did that, and the racist in watchmen is the real southern white man. that is not true. my father never subscribe to racist materials, never went to a white citizens council or clan meeting, he hated both organizations. he never called black people by the n-word, he took for and produce as a fee, and he did courageously defend a black man falsely charged with raping a white woman in troy, alabama in 1938. >> you are watching booktv, television for serious readers. you can watch any program you
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see here online at booktv.org. be change i'm delighted to introduce tonight's arthur. nancy malkiel is professor emeritus of history at princeton university where she was the longest-serving dean and the first woman dean, scholar of 20th american history, her previous books include whitney and young junior and the struggle for civil rights and farewell to the party of lincoln, black politics in the age of fdr. her new book, "keep the damned women out," recounts resistance to, the motivation for and implementation of ivy league college like princeton and harvard as well as oxford and cambridge in england. this momentous change occurred at these elite institutions in 5 short years from 1969 to 1974.
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it didn't hit home to me how recently coeducation occurred until i was visiting colleges with my father 15 years ago, there are girls there. the comprehensive archival research details, in conservative institutions was driven mostly by men, university leaders who were interested in preserving and elite applicants, president emeritus of harvard, and the surge of interests, nancy white's -- nancy malkiel has written an exceptionally thoughtful and judicious account, arising passionate feelings at the time of both sides of the issue. we are pleased she is here with us at harvard book store tonight. please join me in welcoming professor nancy malkiel. [applause]
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>> it is a pleasure to be here tonight. an opportunity to talk about my new book although now i told you about the book, you have to forgive me if i repeat this a little bit. keep the women out, addresses -- "keep the damned women out" addresses decisions for education at colleges and universities in the united states in the united kingdom in the 1969-74, literally dozens of institutions went coed in this space of time. i focused my book in the united states, the all-male ivs of princeton, yale, harvard, three women's colleges which went coed
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and smith and wellesley who have high-level reports, but backed away. in the uk, focused on churchill and kings. and admit women and the university of oxford. there is a remarkable clustering of decisions for coeducation between 1969 and 1974. very conservative and very old colleges and universities. and how did those decisions get
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made, how is coeducation accomplished in the face of strong opposition? with admission to the opposite sex to formerly single-sex schools, what happened? how well did coeducation work in this inclination? those of the questions that frame this book. let's begin with why it happened and why it happened then. as nell has suggested it happened because of strategic self-interest, princeton and yale, dartmouth to admit women. by the late 1960s, these schools were beginning to see applications decline, the high school students, referred to as the best boys no longer wants to
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go to all mail institutions. to attract that, this is the time when harvard begins to pull away from yale and princeton in the competition. coeducation became the means for places like princeton and yale for first-rate applicant pool. it is not the result of any high-minded moral commitment to educational opportunities for women, not a matter of a mission to educate women or deep thinking or how to educate women, but about women could do for previously all mail institutions and how women would
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help renew their hold over the best boys. women in other words played the instrumental role of improving the educational experience and it is not surprising going coed does not always serve, for coed classes. for a later point which may be unexpected, the protagonist in the story are men. and the president of radcliffe, every strategist, every decisionmaker leading the charge for coeducation was male. and with organized effort, strategic decisions taken by powerful men. why did coeducation happen when
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it did? and changes in application pattern in 1960s, but better to understand the context of the 1960s. and the civil rights movement and antiwar movement, by the end of the 1960s colleges and universities, so different than they had at the beginning of the decade. the composition of student bodies begin to change, and students from less advantaged families, students who are catholic and jewish, or african-american. and other demographic changes.
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men and women in the 1960s demonstrated, protested together, registered, voters together, and all of this bears on why high school students changed their minds of the attractiveness of all mail schools. what were some of the factors bearing on the implementation of coeducation? there are two important points to mention. obviously leadership matters. the more skillful the president, here it was, to imagine the institution to embrace a different future the president needed to deal with alumni and mobilize internal planning and execution to make coeducation happen but the other way, many forces of opposition in years. second point is the process
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matters. the more an institution invested in careful analysis planning, the more likely it was to introduce coeducation simply. in absence of adequate process newcomers especially women have a more difficult time. difficult to overestimate how tough it was to make these changes happen. there was fierce opposition from alumni as well as significant resistance from many faculty and students. let me give some examples to illustrate the point. let's start with, for the book "keep the damned women out," comes from a 1970 letter, the chair of dartmouth trustees, he wrote for god's say, dartmouth have steak and everyone, keep
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the damned women out. he could not have been more typical in his sentiment. from my university, why this death wish on the part of princeton a lot of us wonder, if women were admitted, no doubt a fine tool would emerge from princeton university would be lost forever. and princeton, disconcerting, disconcerting young things on the playing field. another alumnus put it this way. what is all this nonsense about admitting women to princeton? and old-fashioned poorhouse would be considerably more efficient and much cheaper. as for faculty, the insults came in different varieties both
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subtle and explicit. some faculty were supportive, some were opposed but virtually everyone put the newly admitted women students on the spot by asking for the women's point of view, in psychology for the women's point of view, and statistics, was clearly -- as for explicit insults consider the professor at dartmouth, on the screen, up and down the side for the oceanography. sea creatures, shrimp, lobster, squid and naked women. for the yale history department, responded by women students to
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consider offering a course in women's history, responded that that would be like teaching the history of dogs. students were not always much better about welcoming their female classmates. there were regular outbursts from men unaccustomed to having women in their classes. the benign version went this way, it is
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by all rights harvard should have been the first mover in the coming of coeducation. the circumstances were propitious. academic qualifications matched harvard. radcliffe women have been taking
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classes since the 1940s, colleges merged to most of their extracurricular activities in the 1950s was presidents of both institutions were enthusiastic about realizing such education in cambridge turned out surprisingly complicated endeavor. in april of 1961 nathan marsh, classical scholar completing his eighth year as president of harvard university approached his colleague mary abraham bunting, microbiologist beginning her second year as president with a proposal of marriage which would radcliffe be interested in exploring the possibility of becoming fully a part of harvard university? the invitation came as a result
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of a proposal from bunting who told him earlier what her ambitions were. she wanted the harvard corporation to invite radcliffe to become part of harvard college. she wanted to reorganize radcliffe's dormitories on a house basis like harvard, to give up graduate school to harvard and join harvard college in radcliffe college. she had in mind harvard would take on the whole responsibility for women's education and radcliffe would function as an undergraduate college on an equal basis with harvard college. the following roadmap turned out to be much more difficult than bunting might have imagined those in coeducation be realized by 1972. the formal merger between
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harvard and radcliffe was not until 1999. understanding the long torturous path to merger requires the deep investments of radcliffe trustees in extreme prestige of their college and relinquishing any part of that compromising the institution fundamental independence was not to be undertaken lightly. a series of steps taken in the 1960s and 1970s, president bunting's initiative, harvard and radcliffe closer together. harvard began awarding degrees to radcliffe students, undergraduate from 1963. in 1966 the harvard register office took over the
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undergraduate registration including course enrollments, and issuance of transcripts and in 1967 harvard opened its undergraduate library to radcliffe. women students had been excluded for decades on the grounds that they would distract harvard men. the harvard instant announced the news of the opening of lamont women with the headline lamont is open to cliffy's after 50 celibate years noting the move would have been inconceivable when lamont first opened and described it as the public but one more mail bastian in harvard yard.
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with yale and princeton embarking on coeducation and harvard and radcliffe students lobbying for in the restless governing board voted in february 1969 to initiate discussions with harvard with a view to merging the two institutions. princeton declared in a banner headline cliff prefers his marriage to 10,000 men of harvard. the harvard corporation responded affirmatively. we can say at once the president wrote to bunting that in principle we welcome the prospect of a merger, we should be happy to join the discussion of when and how a merger might be effective. that harvard would get to work to identify as early as possible questions needing answers and expressed the hope of those
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questions to be resolved and the merger accomplished in 1970. that didn't happen, not at all easy to accomplish. part of the issue, the radcliffe side. it was not simply a function of institutional chauvinism. criticism of harvard was well grounded, the reality of harvard's history. harvard had one tenured position created for a woman faculty member but no other tenured women among its faculty. there were a handful of women assistant professors but faculty members not tenured at the university, no path to tenure from the assistant professor
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rank at harvard in those days. harvard had no women administrators, the number of male undergraduates at harvard was four times the number of students at radcliffe. there was reasonable cause for radcliffe's trustees to worry about merging the college into less than hospitable mail university. radcliffe alumni association's merger committee tried to envision a restructured relationship between radcliffe and harvard that would be consistent with their desire to preserve a radcliffe entity that could focus on the interests and contributions of women and provide richer educational experience for undergraduate women but becoming part of harvard without losing radcliffe's identity was a
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difficult proposition. the committee believed the fool incorporation of women into the mainstream would proceed with consideration of dissolution of radcliffe college and that was not going to happen any time soon. in the meantime, leaders believed radcliffe should be doing what it could to implement provision to aid women in making full use of their education. a closer relationship with harvard was one thing, a merger which would eliminate radcliffe college, they believe should be off the table for the foreseeable future. at the same time, the other part of the problem was resistance on harvard's side. the faculty of arts and sciences at harvard was simply not ready to be party to what they
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regarded as a disappearance of radcliffe college. you could say they were not ready to take full responsibility for the education of radcliffe students. there was plenty of evidence of cooperation between the two institutions. the beginning of the 1970s, side-by-side in delivering welcoming speeches and freshman and baccalaureate addresses to graduating seniors, and in freshman dorms and harvard yards, they joined in the same freshman parents weekend. and traveling in postgraduate fellowship reserved previously.
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and on tickets for football games. and appointed to harvard faculty, the right to vote, the board of overseers and the first two women with their seats in the governing body. nathan piercy retired in 1971 from the presidency of harvard accomplished post integration and succeeded in getting to the harvard graduate school and women who would otherwise matriculated for studying radcliffe. and with radcliffe students, undergraduates have begun taking part in harvard commencement and
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separate administrative boards have been dissolved with radcliffe administrative boards and see to academic standards, disciplinary matters, joined administrative force have been established and harvard and radcliffe embarked on co-residential living. harvard and radcliffe students study together in the same classes, the option of living in the same dormitories, the same extracurricular activities, the same bachelors, the same accomplishments credited to polly bunting who had seen the creation of the house system at radcliffe, renovation of existing dormitories, the building of a new set of residential facilities, integration of faculty into the radcliffe houses and the building of phyllis library
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which served restless women and also attracted harvard men. bunting created the radcliffe institute, pioneering vehicle through which adult women had the opportunity to engage intellectual pursuits that would shape their lives and careers, the remaining anomaly at harvard and radcliffe, two separate corporate structures, budget and administrative arrangements have not been addressed, before they left office. they wanted to affect a measure but were unable to accomplish it. >> the freedom of action was limited insignificant parts by the vietnam war related turmoil
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that rocked the harvard campus from november 1966 to april 1969. calling the release from university, in the wake of the students take over of the building in april of 1969 had been hugely controversial with damage to their credibility in the corporation as well as faculty. it also resulted in the shortening of this term as president which was originally intended to run until he reached retirement age in 1973. he announced in 1970, he would step down in june of 1971 by force is largely external to harvard, unable to manage the university amid the turmoil those forces caused on campus, lost the authority in the maneuvering room to lean on the
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harvard faculty to embrace the internal rearrangements required for merger. bunting had no faculty of her own, and no independent authority, could not herself have led them to a different conclusion with the reluctance of many radcliffe trustees to relinquish what they consider fundamental aspects of radcliffe's identity, it is seemingly straightforward as merger could be so difficult to achieve. let me stop there, the story goes on for another 20 plus years, but i would like to stop there and welcome your questions. [applause] yes? >> do you know anything about
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women who applied in the early days? >> the women who applied to these universities in the early days, were often the daughters and granddaughters of alumni who had grown up where many generations had gone to yale or princeton, the young girls in the family, and now they could. there were women who heard these schools like princeton and yale were contemplating coeducation, and interesting to be pioneers, the first of something to crack the all-male stronghold, that would be something they would like to do, not just get a college education but do it in a novel and challenging sort of
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way. they tended to be students who were better qualified academically on average than the men. the male population at these schools was pretty broad in academic qualifications. the women were at the top of distribution in terms of their academic qualifications. >> we know the argument for single-sex education, that the women will speak up more in class, be dominated by the men, have leadership positions in groups, etc.. you talked about the feminist movement of the late 60s. where there publicly voiced objections to joining or
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admitting women, and where fears raised at the time that women were going to be submerged in the school of active, eager men who were going to talk over them so to speak? >> the questions about how women would be treated in the mail institutions that were going coed didn't get raised that much about women's college, several of the women's colleges were also considering coeducation, smith and wellesley both had high level committees to study the question and both had reports in the same period recommending coeducation and one of the most interesting phenomena in this story comes from smith where there were three successive polls of the undergraduate student body in
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the late 60s and early 70s. the first two polls showed two thirds of women students wanted smith to admit men. it looked as though smith was headed in that direction but one more poll was conducted as high-level trustee administration faculty student committee was trying to make sense of what to do with this recommendation for coeducation and when the third poll was taken the students had flipped there opinions and two thirds of the students were opposed to coeducation. why did that happen? first reason. at that point there had been some experience with women students going to places like yale and princeton, a number of students had transferred to yale and princeton and reports that
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came back said essentially this may not be so perfect as you think. we are not being given the opportunity to engage in major leadership roles, we are not taken as seriously in the classroom, we have a good thing going in north hampton. there were smith students who had the opportunity, students from many small colleges, to go for a semester or year to dartmouth for example, there was a college exchange where northeastern exchange students and when they got to dartmouth they discovered it was not quite so simple being a woman student at dartmouth. that was one of the reasons student opinion changed. the second reason was the women's movement. smith was in an unusual
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relationship with the women's movement because betty and gloria steinem were both smith alumni. gloria steinem in particular was beginning in 1969, 1970, to speak out on the subject of feminist issues, campaigning for equal rights, the equal rights amendment, against restrictions on abortion. the senior class at smith invited gloria steinem to be there commencement speaker in 1971 and she gave a speech that said essentially we are not ready to go coed. we need to get our heads together as women and it would be a feminist act for smith college to remain a college for women.
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that had a big influence on the views of students and faculty but especially students. the women's movement also had some significant influence on radcliffe. the reluctance in the 1970s, the reluctance to embrace a close relationship with harvard that polly bunting had succeeded in negotiating but they had given away too much of the store and they ought to back up and reassert radcliffe's independent autonomy, identity, control over its own resources, and she thought of that as a feminist act. >> i am a little curious about
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the overlap or lack of overlap. i am surprised the vietnam draft doesn't play into the resistance at all or did it play into the resistance moved to coeducation come too little too late for young men who would be responding to young women, if you get in i am going to go somewhere to die and it is your fault, did that come up? >> it didn't work that way. what happened is by the spring of 1970, take yale as an example, intense antiwar activism at yale, intense concern over black power, a trial of black panther leaders in new haven in spring 1970, and
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president brewster of yale made a famous statement that, famous a young yale alumni said he doubted black men could get a fair trial anywhere in the united states, was one of the example of the kind of activism on brewster's part that riled up yale alumni. where the anti-vietnam war protests came in was when yale men and yale women participated in antiwar protests together, participated in protests related to the treatment of the black panthers, they were working together on a common cause and what they said about that was it allowed them to put aside the petty annoyances of the first
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year of coeducation at yale and overlook the way in which it was a complicated and difficult transition because they were working together for larger purposes against the war in the interest of promoting black rights in the united states. >> didn't get drafted anyway. >> as long as you are in college you don't get drafted, that is what happens. that was an issue. >> any colleges and universities you study do a better job than preparing for the arrival of women on their campuses? >> this sounds chauvinistic to say, but truly i believe princeton did the best and most
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careful job of preparing, there's nothing in princeton's history that would lead you to believe they are true. it came as a surprise to everybody i think, the ways in which princeton did that were to engage in careful, deliberate process, painstaking, slow processes over a long period of time studying the question of coeducation, analyzing it, figuring out how best to do it, once coming up with a recommendation, discussing it with alumni and meeting all around the country, spend months at it and then establishing committees on campus to study how best to do it, how to implement it, hiring a woman
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dean, assistant dean of students who would be responsible for working on the implementation of coeducation and because princeton had relatively few women in the first year, 100 freshman, 70 transfer students and students who were there under the critical language program. there were so few, you could get to know them now and listen to them and establish relationships with them and intervene when they needed help with things. at yale where there were 500 students in the first year of coeducation, special assistant to the president couldn't do that. women at princeton also had great working relationships with the provost, the deans, they respected her and paid attention
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when she said this needs to be done, that needs to be done, this is a problem we have to solve. the contrast at yale, special assistant to the president was marginalized, never in a position to participate in measured decisionmaking, conversations, simply wasn't at the table when people were making decisions what would be done with respect to coeducation. she was left lobbying from the outside which is not an effective position to be in. the other thing that differentiated princeton, decided on coeducation, they had for a year been engaged in 1967 through 1966 to 1967, engaged
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with discussions about the possibility of moving to newhaven. and in 1967, maybe we have a coordinate college for women and brewster, the president spending the better part of a year, 10 months imagine what the coordinate college for women -- that is where he was in the princeton report, patterson report on desirability or feasibility of coeducation at princeton arrived in newhaven in late september 1968. we are still talking colleges for women, he read the report and realized princeton might actually go coed and that was unacceptable for princeton to get ahead of yale and so in two
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months with no planning and no processes brewster got yale corporation and yale faculty to vote for coeducation for september of 1969 and that is what led princeton to admit women in the fall of 1969. princeton, very deliberate, careful planning process, endless discussions with the trustees to try to settle their views, princeton didn't decide on coeducation until late april of 1969. the director of admission took two sets of letters into that weekend, one set saying -- the trustees have not approved coeducation for the fall of 69 and the other thing, pleased to welcome you to the first coed class at princeton.
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those got mailed on the 202 of april, the trustees at princeton were forced to decide to bring women in the fall of 1969 because yale was doing it. the competition between these institutions is really stunning but princeton had the advantage of a lot of planning and process in the bank. .. the responsibility of harvard for women as well as

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